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Sometimes a close nexus between family law, estate planning

On Behalf of | Oct 10, 2018 | Divorce, Firm News

I’m focused presently upon some pressing family law issues. Estate planning is a different consideration, and I’ll deal with it later.

Maybe that describes you or another Arkansas resident contemplating effective strategies to address select legal challenges. It is often the case in such a scenario that a hard-pressed individual takes a narrow approach to problem solving, opting to zero in on one matter at a time. It is understandable why people sometimes compartmentalize legal issues, failing to see how they can be resolved in an integrated and complementary way.

Take divorce and estate planning. One deals with breakup and, often, emotive family-linked issues. Many people view the other as pertaining predominantly to later-life financial considerations. Legions of individuals and families see no bridge that directly connects them.

There is in fact a tie, though, and it can be both direct and material. A divorcing Arkansas resident might logically think of estate planning when contemplating this self-posed question, for example: “How do I protect the business I created from division or outright dismantling in a divorce?”

That is a good question. In Arkansas, judges often view a family business as marital property subject to division between a splitting couple. What if your impending ex had absolutely nothing to do with your business creation and success?

A recent Forbes article spotlights powerful and proven family law tools that can help to safeguard wealth in such an instance. That piece notes that a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial contract can be “an excellent protective measure” for identifying business assets as separate property immune from divorce distribution.

Notably, too, the article underscores the key utility that one time-honored estate administration tool can play to protect a divorcing party from what might otherwise be an unfair distribution.

Namely, that is a trust, which is an estate planning mainstay for its creativity and flexibility. A properly drafted and funded trust can remove a business from the value-and-divide equation relevant to divorce. Moreover, it can shelter appreciation realized during marriage as well.

Obviously, timeliness is key in trust creation. The Forbes commentator duly advises a would-be trustor to carve out “plenty of lead time to consult with an attorney who is experienced with asset protection trusts.”

Robertson Oswalt & Associates attorneys have longstanding practice areas in both family law and estate planning, and are often able to help valued clients deal seamlessly with matters involving both those legal realms. We welcome contacts to the firm to discuss our advocacy and diligent legal representation.


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